Evan Ulinski will graduate from Woodmore High School in June as one of the best, if not the best, wrestlers in Wildcats history.
Ulinski compiled a remarkable 184-15 career record and finished 51-3 this season to set the school record for wins in a season and career. He had 37 pins this season, and his 117 career pins ranks 15th on Ohio’s all-time list.
“He had an awesome career,” Woodmore coach Dane Bonnigson said.
Ulinski is the school’s only four-time state tournament qualifier and its only three-time state placer, he won four league titles, and for the fourth time, he is on the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Honor Roll.
|Evan Ulinski celebrates with his father, Steve Ulinski, at Ohio State’s Value
City Arena, and Woodmore coach Dane Bonnigson is to their left. (Press
photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)
After placing second in the state at 106 pounds last year, Ulinski prepared for this season like no other.
His goal was to nab that elusive state title in his final attempt in Columbus, last Thursday through Saturday. Ulinski placed fourth at 112 pounds as a sophomore after going 0-2 at 103 pounds as a freshman.
This was his year to take the Division III 113-pound title at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
“It was a delight coaching Evan,” Bonnigson said. “He was very successful and he was a great team leader and definitely a plus for the Woodmore wrestling program. We had pretty much the whole team down at the tournament to watch him, as well as a ton of administrators and fans and classmates. We appreciated all the support for him.”
Ulinski opened the tournament with a 12-6 rout of Stan Bleich of Elyria Catholic, followed by a 13-0 major decision over Tyler Stoneburner of Bainbridge Paint Valley. And then – drum roll – came his rematch against Delta sophomore Jake Spiess, who beat Ulinski in overtime in the 106-pound state finals in 2013.
Spiess entered the tournament with a 45-0 record and easily made it to the semifinals with pins in 40 seconds and 2:59 in the first two rounds.
“Evan goes into every match confident,” Bonnigson said. “Undoubtedly that (semifinal) was a big match to him and us, as well as for a lot of interested people who might not know either of the kids.”
Ulinski, trailing late, managed a 5-3 victory over Spiess.
“This year Evan just kept going for all six minutes and he pulled it out at the last second,” Bonnigson said. “He was down 3-1 with less than 10 seconds to go and managed to get a cradle and got Spiess on his back for two points and won.”
That victory set up Ulinski’s championship match with formidable Dayton Christian senior Christian Clary, who took second at 113 pounds last year, third at 113 in 2012 and fourth at 103 in 2011. Ulinski had never wrestled Clary before.
“Going into the finals we knew we had to wrestle solid because (Clary) has a funky style,” Bonnigson said. “He wrestles very unorthodox. Ultimately, he kind of caught us with that unorthodox movement and got us in a position we couldn’t get out of. Evan got caught in a spladle. He’s done that (to opponents) a good number of times.”
Clary (53-5) got Ulinski on his back and followed through with a pin in 2:46.
“I really wanted to see Evan win,” Bonnigson said. “Nonetheless, Evan has nothing to hang his head about. It’s not every day you find a kid who can make the finals twice and place three times. That’s very rare. It’s a special thing.”
Ben Petersen finishes eighth
Oak Harbor had three competitors at the Division II state tournament in sophomore Rhett Petersen at 132 pounds and juniors Jeremy Balboa (138) and Ben Petersen (145), and Ben Petersen finished eighth.
Rhett Petersen pinned Graham’s Brent Moore in 3:50 in the first round but lost, 3-0, in the second round to Garrett Blackburn of London. Petersen then lost to Circleville’s Tyler Knul, 4-3, to finish the season with a 33-13 record.
Balboa (29-14) lost 6-5 in the first round to Jake Zemaitis of Mantua Crestwood, then won an 11-9 overtime decision over R.J. Martin of Sunbury Big Walnut. Balboa then lost a 16-6 major decision in the third round against Preston Bowshier of Kenton Ridge.
Ben Petersen (35-11) lost in the first round to Nick Wrobel of Mantua Crestwood, 3-2, before pinning Bailey Jenkins of Byesville Meadowbrook in 4:41 in the second round. He pinned Zack Lake of Akron Coventry in 3:48 in the third round before losing to Uhrichsville Claymont senior Caden Herron, 6-3, in the consolation quarterfinals.